Build To Go Big

In theory I'm out of the rehabilitation phase and starting my training phase. Of course the reality isn't that clear cut. Once ligaments have been injured they take a very long time to get close to their previous strength. This has to be taken into for months. A better way for me to think about this is that this is now part of my training. At least I've now reached the day where I can run daily and now start pushing my boundaries back out.

A race that's become a must-do on my race calendar is the Surfcoast Century. It was my first 100km race back in 2012 (read the race report here). Since then it's developed into a great get together with some friends from work. This year the plan has been to take part in a 2 person relay. 50km each. At the start of this year we were hoping to see really challenge ourselves and see just how fast we could go. At this point I confident I won't be breaking any records. To ensure I get to the start line will require training smart and not aggravating any injury issues.

Leaving me to think of the race as a marker that will operate as motivation, a definable goal with a time frame and stepping stone leading to future challenges. The race is on the 9th September which is only 9 weeks away. My goal is to be able to run the how distance at a reasonable pace and not fall apart in the late stages. Exactly what that reasonable pace is won't be an exact time. Instead it will be about how I run and that I am able to get into a proper flow. It is hard to put into words, but I do know it when I achieve it.

For training over the next two months I am inspired Jim Wendler's Boring But Big concept. Now I'm training for a trail ultra marathon so the training is completely different. The take away is stick to the absolute basics, repeat and progress. "The basics are always best."

Being a shift worker removes from the normal 7 day week that many follow. My roster will vary a bit over the next few weeks. Initially I'll be on an 8 day rotation. This rotation will allow me following template:
  1. regeneration
  2. Faster
  3. Easy
  4. Long
  5. regeneration
  6. Long
  7. Easy
  8. Faster
For the first 5 days I'll be on shift and days 6,7 & 8 are my days off shift. When on shift I'll fit in strength work as I can, but will likely just e 15-30 minutes a couple of times focusing on the must-dos for me. On days 6 and 8 I'll put in long and intense strength sessions after my run for the day.

Regeneration is all about recovering and being able to be stronger for upcoming training. This could be a day with no training, and very easy run, a walk or just some remedial work. I'm either starting work before dawn or coming off a 14 hour night shift on these days, so they're not ideal for hard training anyway.

Faster runs are still fairly easy. They won't be long, just at a level where I focus on running a little quicker than I plan for my 50km leg at the Surfcoast Century. Typically it will involve in ensuring the cadence is a little faster and I push a bit more on the up hills. It definitely isn't speed work or sprinting.

Easy is exactly that. Roughly an hour of comfortable running.

Long runs are the key runs. This is race specific, where I will carry all my race gear (bottles, nutrition, mandatory gear) and run over terrain that should get me ready for the race. The pace should be fairly even throughout erring on the side of a slight negative split (terrain permitting). I don't care about time splits, just finding my rhythm, getting into the flow and developing the feel I want to have on race day. The final times will be a byproduct of all of this. If all goes to plan I hope to start at 90 minutes and add 15 minutes to each succeeding long run.

But there's no fast running...why?
There's two main risks that will put me back into injury problems. The first is fast running. I'll get more benefit from developing my basic endurance at this stage I'm better to focus on just that and give the fast stuff a miss at the moment. The second risk is down hill running which put the AITF ligament at risk. There will be down hill running in this race so I need to prepare for it. That means incorporating down hills in my main rains, keeping it within my limits and very gradually progressing. I look at this this way. One risk I have eliminated and the second I have it controlled.

This approach won't put me at my best level of race fitness, but it should ensure I get to the start line and capable of completing the event without hurting my running afterwards. Longevity in this running caper is important to me.


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